U.S.: Obama Comments On Marijuana In Exit Interview
By Derrick Stanley
Obama criticized the DEA for being behind the times on marijuana in his recent exit interview with Rolling Stone, saying that pot should be treated like cigarettes and alcohol.
“If you survey the American people, including Trump voters, they’re…in favor, in large numbers, of decriminalizing marijuana,” Obama said in the interview conducted the day after Election Day and published on Tuesday. “I do believe that treating this as a public-health issue, the same way we do with cigarettes or alcohol, is the much smarter way to deal with it.”
Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner pressed Obama on marijuana’s status as a Schedule I drug in the interview, which his administration decided not to change in August.
“Typically how these classifications are changed are not done by presidential edict but are done either legislatively or through the DEA,” Obama answered. “As you might imagine, the DEA, whose job it is historically to enforce drug laws, is not always going to be on the cutting edge about these issues.”
The president also stressed his belief that federal prohibition enforcement is not acceptable in states that have legalized marijuana.
“It is untenable over the long term for the Justice Department or the DEA to be enforcing a patchwork of laws, where something that’s legal in one state could get you a 20-year prison sentence in another,” he said. “So this is a debate that is now ripe, much in the same way that we ended up making progress on same-sex marriage.”